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  Spring Flowering Pastures

This stage is the reproductive stage of pastures and includes flowering and seed-set.  Grazing during this period can have an influence on seed production.

Grazing management during spring can influence pasture composition in both the current year and the following season. Overgrazing during flowering will reduce seed production due to removal of the flowering parts. This may affect annual grasses more than sub clover.


Pastures are rapidly changing in spring with branching and thickening of stems and leaves, which increases the weight for the volume of pasture. Throughout August and September, grazed pastures will be shorter at the same FOO than in July. Clover at the FOO targets below will be very short and well branched.

Large seed heads on species such as capeweed and barley grass are heavy and the greater the proportion of these species in the pasture, FOO will increase considerably. Grazing pressure and the resulting amount of branching is a very important influence on FOO. Spring pastures that have not had heavy grazing will not be very dense and consequently weigh less than tightly grazed pastures.

Target FOO

1500 kg DM/ha minimum FOO through spring to increase clover content optimum FOO for single bearing ewes into lambing
1800 kg DM/ha optimum FOO for twin bearing ewes into lambing
2000 kg DM/ha near maximum intake of sheep optimum FOO for lactating twin bearing ewes

Damage by leaf insects such as red legged earth mite and Lucerne flea at this time can be seen on leaves.  Limiting insect damage can be achieved by intensive grazing or by careful pesticide use (visit for more details).

These photos are at a resolution for on screen viewing. To download a hard copy of these pictures,  please click on the image.

Clover dominant pastures: Mixed composition pastures:

1100 FOO

1000 FOO

1700 FOO

1600 FOO

2500 FOO

1800 FOO


2000 FOO


1700 average paddock FOO 

2000 average paddockFOO 

2500 average paddock FOO

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Last Updated
March 17, 2011